On November 1st of each year we begin a new season of Room In The Inn. More than 30 congregations in the Shoals participate. All come together to provide the grace of hospitality in their own facility, under the common theme of God’s unconditional love for all people, especially the poor and dispossessed.
Room In The Inn is a simple concept addressing a complex problem. It starts with building relationships of trust and respect in an atmosphere of non-violence. It believes in the power of love offered in one-to-one encounters with one another.
Florence Boulevard was involved in the inaugural season of Room in the Inn in 2014/15. We plan to be even more involved this year as we will participate on a weekly basis throughout the 2015/16 season. Room in the Inn is an excellent way to bring your congregation together for a common goal, through the years many have wondered what can I do to help…This is what you can do, there is a job for everyone and everyone can participate from children to seniors.
What it is not
Room In The Inn is not an attempt to resolve all of the issues of the homeless. The problems are too deep and too personal.
Room In The Inn is not a program through which a congregation takes one or more homeless people “underwing,” providing them with economic assistance, job training, and personal spiritual direction. These gifts can be offered in time, as relationships develop.
Room In The Inn is not about establishing another shelter where people are cared for nightly.
And it is not about boards of directors and major fundraising campaigns for capital projects.
What is it?
Room In The Inn is a way for more people in every sector to understand the problems of the homeless by becoming directly involved with people who are homeless.
Room In The Inn is a means through which congregations open their facilities to welcome twelve to fifteen homeless people as guests on cold winter nights.
Room In The Inn is about changing people, guests and hosts alike. It creates an environment with the opportunity for the guests to learn that there are people who care…and for the hosts to come to understand that the faceless figure on the street corner is more than a statistic…and that there are solutions.
Room In The Inn is about serving without prejudice or pride. It is about accepting everyone.
Room In The Inn is about Christians putting the tenets of our faith into practice.
Room In The Inn is not about giving; it is about receiving. It is about everyone, both guests and hosts, receiving a blessing—an encounter with God in the midst of suffering, hardship, pain and grief.
Room In The Inn is an opportunity, not an answer. It is an experience, not a solution. In short, Room In The Inn is an opportunity to experience the presence of God in a different way.
Finally, Room In The Inn gets its name from a story in the Bible about a family coming to a small town called Bethlehem and not finding any room in the inn. We cannot go back in history 2000 years and change that story. But what we can do in the Shoals each evening we are open is to change that story’s ending by providing room in the inn.
We can live out Matthew 25…here and now…….No experience required, no special training, no foreign travel, just a simple concept straight from the pages of scripture…
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Come join us and be blessed.